Anyone who has shopped for a smart thermostat or smart home security systems knows they are not cheap. This often forces consumers to make some decisions about long term returns on investments. Alphabet’s Nest division is hoping to make it a little easier for buyers to purchase several of these items according to new reports. Nest is working on a new, less expensive version of their Nest thermostat, a home security system and updates to their indoor security cameras.
The Nest thermostat that is on the market now is the product that put Nest on the map and apparently enticed Google to buy the company in 2014. The path since then has been a rocky one, most notably with the exit of founder Tony Fadell last year after complaints surrounding his management style became public. Fadell helped start the company after working for Apple where he helped create the iPod.
The Nest thermostat currently retails for $249. The new version in the works will apparently hit a price point below $200. To get to that point, Nest is working on using less expensive components and from a design standpoint, abandoning the “premium” metal edge. Alphabet does have a bit of a longer term strategy to help increase revenues from the devices though by also developing remote sensors that can connect wirelessly to the new thermostat. These would be used to control the temperature of individual rooms instead of a whole house, although it is unclear how this would be achieved with a typical HVAC system. In any case, by reducing the price of the “master” unit and then making add-ons available, Nest could increase sales.
A similar strategy may be in the works for a home security system that will consist of a central hub that includes the keypad, and packs of alarm sensors that buyers can deploy to different entry points. Supposedly a key fob type unit will also be available for arming or disarming a system.
The security system may be augmented by new Nest indoor security cameras which are based off of Dropcam units, which is another company purchased by the Alphabet conglomerate. To make these more useful, Nest appears to be working on technology that not only identifies when a person walks into a room, but also who the person is. Finally, Nest is also working on a digital doorbell system that may integrate a video camera so that communication can be established without the need to open a door.